If there is one thing I know a lot about, it’s how to be alone. I’ve been single for the past ten years and have lived apart from family the entire time – since I was 20.
I turned 30 last October.
Do you remember, in high school, lying on your bed, young and weightless, dressed up and ready, excitedly waiting? For your friends to pick you up, for the one you like to call, for your parents to fall asleep so you could sneak out the basement door, for a time you’d be free.
It was magic, and there was electricity in the air. Pure potential.
I’ve felt this way for the past decade. Maybe you’ve felt this electricity, too, and you are half of a solid pair. And you, like me, feel that anything is possible. But I think I feel this buzzing hope because I am alone. Every conversation could take me somewhere new and I am free to go there, because no one depends on me to stay where I am.
During the past decade alone, I talked to strangers, I listened to my gut, and I let the conversation lead me. I lived in Prague, Houston, Chicago, and New York City. I taught high school English, wrote for a men’s magazine, and assisted a hedge fund CEO. I ran. At night, in the morning, in the rain, in the snow, along the ocean, in the mountains, and on cobblestones. I went on a lot of first dates with inspiring and not-so-inspiring men – boat captains, businessmen, artists, single fathers, professors, documentary filmmakers, landscapers, journalists. I found the right coffee, bourbon, and pair of running shoes for me. Just not the right guy yet.
I ached and still ache for intimacy. But at my core I am happy and satisfied, and it’s because I’ve had so much time alone. I know who I am. I like to think intimacy will be sweeter because of this.
If you find yourself alone, and maybe a little bit hopeless, go for a walk and talk to a stranger.
He might help you find something you didn’t know was missing.